There are only a handful of gadgets in my possession that can’t be charged over USB: TV/Cable/Blu-ray player remotes and my DSLR. My Xbox 360 controller was a battery hog once upon a time, but the Nyko Charge Base took care of that. The remotes aren’t as taxing on batteries as my SLR — that puppy is constantly draining my supply of batteries. I could always cut back on the amount of photos I take, but life wouldn’t be as much fun and I’m all about fun.
Trying to be as eco-friendly as possible, I decided to embrace rechargeable batteries and went with Energizer’s 2500mAh rechargeables. Because my camera drains the juice so quickly when using the flash in my dark apartment, I also opted to pick up the 15-minute AA/AAA Battery Charger. It holds up to four batteries and glows red when depleted batteries are docked. A fan swirls for the next 15-20 minutes and subsequently shuts down when the status indicator goes green. Energizer claims to recharge batteries up to 90 percent in 15 minutes. They also suggest you keep them in for an additional 10 minutes once the intitial 15 minutes is up for maximum results.
Now the way I chose to test whether or not the batteries were charged was to plug them into my Xbox 360 controller and check the battery meter in dashboard. I played for an hour or two and checked again and it was still going strong. Obviously, I tested with my SLR under similar conditions and results were mixed. I believe this is due to the changing amount of light that seeps into my apartment, subject placement, and other circumstances. They all averaged out in an acceptable window of use, though.
Safety precautions abound in this charger, with bad battery detecion, short circuit protection, overcharge protection, and surge protection, among many others. So don’t worry about burning down your house or zapping the rechargeable batteries you do have.
The kit comes with 2 AA and 2 AAA batteries along with a car-charging adapter. It can be found for as low as $32. Picking one of these up will save you money in the long run despite the rather high intitial investment.